Prime Minister David Cameron,after a month of bristling resistance that many close associates saw as politically unwise,switched course on Friday and accepted the resignation of a senior cabinet minister who had admitted using abusive language in a confrontation with police officers on duty at the prime minister’s residence and office.
Andrew Mitchell,the 56-year-old Conservative whose position as chief whip made him responsible for maintaining party discipline in the House of Commons,had clung to office after the tabloid The Sun and other newspapers had given headline prominence to the incident,last month.
The reports said that Mitchell,riding a bicycle,had denounced police officers as plebs for refusing to open the security gates separating Downing Street,the residence and office,from Whitehall,the avenue that runs to Parliament,barely 500 yards away.
In his resignation letter,Mitchell gave his own account of the incident denied that he had used the term plebs meaning people of a lower social class but admitted adding a common expletive in telling the police officers,I thought you guys were supposed to be helping us.
In the letter,Mr. Mitchell added,It was obviously wrong of me to use such bad language.